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AxiDraw SE/A3

by Evil Mad Scientist

The AxiDraw SE/A3: A Special Edition AxiDraw, featuring extended plot area and extra-rigid base precision machined from a solid block of aluminum.

The AxiDraw is a simple, modern, precise, and versatile pen plotter, capable of writing or drawing on almost any flat surface. It can write with your favorite fountain pens, permanent markers, and other writing implements to handle an endless variety of applications. Its unique design features a writing head that extends beyond the machine, making it possible to draw on objects bigger than the machine itself. The mechanical design of the AxiDraw features smooth rolling wheels on custom aluminum forms, specially designed for high stiffness and light weight.

This special edition AxiDraw SE/A3 has the same extended plotting area as the AxiDraw V3/A3: it is designed for use with paper sizes up to 11×17 inch (tabloid or ledger) and A3 size. In place of the central extrusion that makes up the body of the V3/A3, the AxiDraw SE/A3 has a central beam precision machined from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum, and anodized to a sleek black finish.

This heavy, rigid structure — it's a solid block of metal! — provides dramatically better straightness and stiffness, even compared to the already-stiff AxiDraw V3/A3. This design adds mass exactly where you want it: to the non-moving base that forms the X-axis of the machine. In order to keep the weight light where it matters, the moving Y-axis of the AxiDraw SE/A3 uses the same stiff and light custom aluminum extrusion that is used on the third-generation AxiDraw V3/A3.

We're now shipping 3rd-generation AxiDraw SE/A3 machines, redesigned with new aluminum extrusions, and precision machined components for improved precision and robustness.

This special edition model comes standard with black anodized AxiDraw Outrigger Feet, the Italic pen adapter, and the XL pen clip (in addition to the regular AxiDraw pen clip).


The AxiDraw is an extremely versatile machine, designed to serve a wide variety of everyday and specialized drawing and writing needs. You can use it for almost any task that might normally be carried out with a handheld pen.

It allows you to use your computer to produce writing that appears to be handmade, complete with the unmistakable appearance of using a real pen (as opposed to an inkjet or laser printer) to address an envelope or sign one's name. And it does so with precision approaching that of a skilled artist, and — just as importantly — using an arm that never gets tired.

AxiDraw is used by a genuinely diverse range of people. The most common uses are:

  • As a signature machine for checks, diplomas, headshots, etc
  • As a "handwriting" machine for various purposes
  • Digital artists, using AxiDraw to plot their artwork
  • As a versatile fabrication tool

Handling pens and paper:

The AxiDraw SE/A3 has extended travel range, designed for use with paper sizes up to and including 11×17 inch ("tabloid" or "ledger") and A3. It can work with any paper up to and including that size, including envelopes, regular US letter (8 1/2 × 11 inch) or A4 (297 × 210 mm) sized paper, note cards, business cards, or a whole array of smaller items. You can even work with two Letter/A4 pages side by side. An included mounting easel (board with clips) can be used for holding paper, cards, and envelopes of various sizes.

The unique design of the AxiDraw features a drawing head that extends beyond the body of the machine, making it possible to also draw on flat objects bigger than the machine itself. For example, you can set it right on top of a box to write an address or add decorations. You can even set it on top of a poster board, chalkboard, or whiteboard to draw graphics in place.

The pen holder fits a wide variety of pens, including Sharpie fine and ultra-fine point markers, most rollerball and fountain pens, whiteboard markers, and so forth. It can even hold a fountain pen at a proper angle of 45° to the paper, or an italic-nibbed pen with the right slant with respect to the paper. You can also use implements that aren't pens, such as pencils, chalk, charcoal, brushes, and many others. However, you'll get the best results with instruments such as fountain pens and rollerball pens, which do not require the user to apply pressure.

Getting Started

The AxiDraw comes fully assembled, tested, and ready to use, right out of the box. A universal-input plug-in power supply is included with the AxiDraw, as is a USB cable, and an optional paper-holding easel. Assuming that you've installed the software first, you can be up and plotting within minutes of opening the box. The comprehensive PDF user guide walks you through every step of the process.

To operate AxiDraw, you will need a reasonably modern computer with an available USB port (Mac, Windows or Linux), plus internet access to download necessary software. Pens and paper are not included. (You can use your own; AxiDraw does not require proprietary pens or paper.)

AxiDraw is normally controlled through a set of extensions to Inkscape, the excellent, popular and free vector graphics program. Basic operation is much like that of a printer driver: you import or make a drawing in Inkscape, and use the extensions to plot your text or artwork. It's all handled through a straightforward graphical user interface, and works cleanly on Mac, Windows and Linux.

More about AxiDraw

The AxiDraw SE/A3 is based on the third-generation version of the AxiDraw, redesigned from the ground up for high performance. It features smooth rolling wheels on a machined aluminum base and a custom aluminum extrusion, specially designed for high stiffness and light weight. Its sturdy, rigid construction gives it finer quality output and in most applications allows it to operate with significantly higher precision and speed than competing and previous generation machines.

AxiDraw is a project by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, working in collaboration with Lindsay Wilson of IJ Instruments Ltd.

The AxiDraw SE/A3 is designed and manufactured by Evil Mad Scientist in Sunnyvale, California, with both foreign and domestic components. The major structural components, including our aluminum extrusions and the machined central strut, are made in USA.

AxiDraw comes with lifetime support. Evil Mad Scientist stand by their machines, and are here to help whenever you need it.

What comes with the machine:

  • The AxiDraw SE/A3 drawing machine, fully assembled, tested, and ready to use.
  • Universal-input plug-in power supply with US-style plug. For other regions, an inexpensive plug shape (but not voltage) adapter will be needed.
  • USB cable
  • Tabloid/A3 Clip Easel (Board and clips) for paper holding
  • Standard AxiDraw pen clip and XL pen clip
  • Italic pen adapter



  • Usable pen travel (inches): 16.93 × 11.69 inches.
  • Usable pen travel (millimeters): 430 × 297 mm.
  • Vertical pen travel: 0.7 inch (17 mm).
  • Maximum XY travel speed: 15 inches (38 cm) per second.
  • Native XY resolution: 2032 steps per inch (80 steps per mm).
  • Reproducibility (XY): Typically better than 0.005 inches (0.1 mm) at low speeds.


  • Major structural components are machined and/or folded aluminum.
  • Holds pens and other drawing instruments up to 1" (25.4 mm) diameter.
  • Overall dimensions: Approximately 26 × 19 × 5 inches (66 × 48 × 13 cm).
  • Maximum height with cable guides: Approximately 11 inches (29 cm).
  • Footprint: Approximately 26 × 5 inches (66 x 13) cm.
  • Physical weight: 8.4 Lb (3.8 kg).
  • Dimensional shipping weight: 39 Lb (17.5 kg).


  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Drive directly from within Inkscape, using the AxiDraw extension.
  • Comprehensive user guide available for download.
  • Driver software software free to download and open source
  • Internet access is required to download software.
  • Additionally, AxiDraw Merge software available at no cost to AxiDraw owners.

Programming interfaces:

  • Note: programming is not required to use the AxiDraw.
  • Stand-alone command line interface (CLI) .
  • Available AxiDraw python API.
  • RESTful API available for full machine control, stand-alone or accessible by running RoboPaint in the background.
  • Simplified "GET-only" API available as well, for use in programming environments (such as Scratch, Snap) that permit only retrieval of URLs.
  • Direct EiBotBoard (EBB) command protocol available for use in any programming environment that supports communication with USB-based serial ports.
  • Code that generates SVG files can also be used to (indirectly) control the machine.